Northumberland and Cumbria will be sharing the Twickenham billing with England v The Barbarians next Sunday after the duo emerged as winners of their respective sections of the Bill Beaumont Cup and County Championship Shield.
A convincing 34-6 victory over Eastern Counties saw Northumberland secure a place at the home of rugby, while Cumbria sealed their showpiece day in dramatic fashion following a 13-11 win against Warwickshire.
Newcastle Falcons would like to express their congratulations to both counties and wish them all the very best on their big day at Twickenham.
Cumbria head coach Malcolm Brown said: “The response of the Cumbrian players to the challenge of competing for the National Shield has been excellent .
“After such a long season the attraction of coming together as a group, maintaining the camaraderie and history of Cumbrian rugby, and gaining a Cumbria cap, is a goal they still strive for.
“Attendances at training have been excellent , team spirit first class and the performances of the last two weeks have shown that Cumbrian clubs continue to produce rugby players with the ability to play top drawer rugby.
“There is no doubt our warm up fixture with the Falcons Academy helped raise the bar for us this year and the opportunity to pitch up and challenge some professional players ensured a good turnout.
“The intensity and pace of the game demanded that the lads had to raise their game from their regular league routine .
“Five weeks down the line the outcome is that when given the opportunity, Cumbrian lads can roll their sleeves up and compete with the best.
“We would hope to continue to develop these positive links with the Falcons.”
Northumberland head coach Simon Culley said: “The season has been great so far, and I’d like to thank clubs across the region for being so supportive. The players’ approach to training and playing has made coaching easy, and we have a very good atmosphere in the squad.
“I’m particularly proud of the number of young players coming through into the senior squad for the first time, and it bodes well for the long term future of the game in Northumberland.
“I think the County RFU, and particularly the RFU Development team led by Dave Reed deserve an awful lot of credit for the job they have done in identifying and nurturing talented young players to be able to compete at this level at 18-21-years-old.
“Promotion to Bill Beaumont 1 is secure so we can concentrate on the final, and it’s important not to get over-awed by the stadium and go out and deliver our usual high tempo, powerful performance.
“We have an outstanding defence and it is a platform that, coupled with a great pack, has allowed us to put a lot of pressure on teams, we will again look to release the tremendous pace we have out wide when the opportunities present themselves but I would anticipate a tightly contested battle up front before too many of those opportunities arise.”